Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Hoosierdance International Film Festival in Kokomo, Indiana, where I was a festival judge for the screenplay competition. We selected a tidy little screenplay called DIRTY WINDS about the American Revolution and its impact on a group of people. But look how sweet I got treated at the festival:
First I went to the Indiana short films bock, where I got to meet some like-minded people. To me, this is the best part of any fest, especially a grassroots one. I always say you can't push anyone's career ahead of yours, but if you catch the rocket, you can pull other people in your wake. And that's what this is about, proving you are a normal person who seems able to meet deadlines and keep promises.
I saw a lot of good things, and I know I missed some things that played well, but from what I saw there were some standouts.
UNEXCEPTIONAL by Scott Carelli was a funny little alien invasion movie that played like the opening salvo to a full-length work. RANDOM by Cindy Maples was a very tight genre short that I can't say much about without giving away the game. But probably my favorite was MISREAD by Ryan McCurdy, about a schlub hired to drive a woman around who reads lips for a living. The production was a little uneven, but I like stories I haven't heard before.
Next I went to the student films block, where I saw all the people that will push me out of the way one day. They had a large, warm crowd for a mix of narrative and documentary shorts. David Stallard did an interesting doc called THE BLUE FLASH about an old guy who built two roller coasters in his backyard in rural Indiana. THE NETWORK by Adam Nelson was a very polished-looking post-apocalyptic riff. But what knocked me out was THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY by Alex Cook, about two orphaned brothers hanging on in a bleak rural setting. Very good acting and directing signaled that this guy has a tremendous upside.
Part of why I missed a few screenings was that I really ended up enjoying downtown Kokomo. You can see when you visit that they are making an effort to revitalize the area with little shops and cool places to eat and have coffee. They even have a self-proclaimed Geek Street, with a comic book shop, gaming store, toy store, with an Irish pub, coffee shop, and hipster record store all within shouting distance. For me, a street of dreams, indeed.
I Snapchatted all day from there to test the app out for a work project. You can find me on Snapchat at John Oak Dalton, to catch me next time.
I enjoyed being a part of Hoosierdance in just its second year, and I hope they have more to come. At the end of the month I will be at the Blue Whiskey Film Festival in Chicago, and will have much to report from there.